Pubdate: Wed, 21 Jan 2004
Source: Toronto Sun (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004, Canoe Limited Partnership.
Author: Sam Pazzano
Bookmark: (Ecstasy)


Let her die from Ecstasy to 'save own hide'

Drug pusher John Bernandino dealt 17-year-old Nicole Malik a deadly dose of
Ecstasy and then watched her die to "save his own hide," a Crown attorney
charged yesterday. "Bernandino was attempting to save his own hide" by
dissuading Malik's friends from calling paramedics after she overdosed on
two Ecstasy pills, said prosecutor Calvin Barry.

Bernandino, 31, of Mississauga, pleaded guilty to criminal negligence
causing Malik's death by administering the drug and failing to call for
medical assistance in December 2001.

Bernandino, a first-time offender, was sentenced to two years less a day in
jail but future offenders will face longer terms, Justice David Watt warned.

"Those who traffic in such substances where death results should be aware
that a conviction will result in a visit to a penitentiary," Watt said.

Bernandino lied to police by telling them Malik's boyfriend, Paul Busch,
gave her the pills, Barry said.

Instead of beckoning help, as Malik fought for her life at the Alpha Lounge,
a Bloor St. W. internet cafe, Bernandino, a manager, convinced Malik's
friends she was normal, even as she was vomiting and having seizures for up
to 15 minutes.

"Ecstasy's a pernicious drug that is causing people's deaths. This is not
some rave drug, fantasy drug or love drug," Barry said. "There were nine
deaths in Ontario from it in 1999.

"Those traffickers of Ecstasy better beware because (they're facing)
significant jail terms," he added.

"Ecstasy is just a killing drug and Nicole -- who was normally so against
drug use -- was just experimenting, perhaps for the first time," said her
aunt, Kim Tietz, who was instrumental in raising Nicole from the time she
was six years old until she was 15.


Nicole's mother had substance abuse problems and lost custody of her; she
was raised by grandparents and aunts.

"Her promising life was ended by Ecstasy, a quiet killer. Nicole was a good
student, a talented artist who also wanted to pursue a career as an
architect," Tietz said.

A negligence charge against Busch, 21, was withdrawn after his testimony
bolstered the Crown's case against Bernandino during the preliminary
hearing, Barry said. 
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